Covid-19 and Obesity



  • There were 11,117 hospital admissions directly related to obesity (an increase or 4%)

  • 876,000 admissions where obesity was a factor (an increase of 23%

  • 67% of men and 60% of women are obese or overweight

  • 26-29% of these obese

*according to the latest study 2019/20

  • 73% of patients occupying ICU beds in the UK due to Covid-19 were overweight or obese

Scary numbers, to say the least. So what do we do about it?

Today’s fitness professionals are simply not qualified enough to deal with obesity and it’s rising rates. It wasn’t until qualifications such as exercise referral came into play, where obesity was looked at properly. From the pathophysiology of the condition to the prevention and medical treatment, there is to more to this medical condition than simply intake exceeding output.


Recently, the UK government has been seen to tackle the obesity crisis with many a campaign, now labelling obesity as a comorbidity to the devastating effects of Covid-19.


What’s more, the recent lockdowns and restrictions by the UK government have caused activity levels to plummet and intake of the foods and drinks related to obesity to rise. With the closure of health and fitness facilities and the limit of 1 person training activities, we’re in for a rise in the current numbers of those overweight and/or obese.

Through studying exercise referral you will begin to understand this complex condition more, therefore be in a better position to prevent and treat clients who suffer from it. Did you know there’s a chemical imbalance involved? Where, in some patients, the stomach doesn’t trigger the brain informing of satiety (the feeling of being full and hunger being suppressed) this leads to one eating more and more and more and.... you get the drift.

We see it too often, an obese patient, new to exercise, is screamed and shouted at to be “motivated and encouraged” by their trainer, often in an environment where they already stand out and have confidence issues about being in, and now have the added bonus of everyone’s eyes in such a facility focused on them!

We also see, obese clients, new to exercise, being asked to perform ridiculous, non-productive exercises as part of their training, an example: BURPEES! Not just a pathetic and nonsensical exercise for the general public, but even more so for someone carrying 20 stone.

When planning exercise for obese clients, be sure to take into account everything else that comes with the condition. This would include, but isn’t limited to:

  • Longer, more gradual warm ups

  • Correct clothing and footwear to avoid uncomfortable chafing and provide extra support

  • Full body movements and exercise to utilise more muscle groups

  • Less impact work to protect bones and joints already under excessive strain

To learn more about this condition or any others, be sure to enquire about the Level 3 Diploma in Exercise Referral which will qualify you to treat patients effectively and not be the trainer screaming, shouting and demanding burpees from someone who isn’t returning after session 1.....


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